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Canadian undergrad to US grad

  1. Jun 4, 2010 #1
    I was looking over some application profiles, and one caught my eye.

    He was a Canadian from a decent Canadian university. 4.30/4.30 gpa (1st in his graduating class), GRE: 800 Q, 710 V, 5.0 W, and 980 physics. He also had four summers of research (two with a very well respected professor (fairly big name), 1 4th author pub accepted, 1 1st author pub that hasn't been accepted yet). A few physics awards and scholarships as well, but no other jobs or extra-curriculars.

    He was rejected at all his US schools (included Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Cornell, Columbia, U of Chicago, Caltech, Stanford, Berkeley, UCSB), and an acceptance to University of Toronto.

    I was really surprised by this. His GPA and test scores were almost perfect, and the research seemed fairly solid.

    Do Canadians just have the odds against them to begin with? or is this application not as good as I thought it was?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2010 #2
    In my senior year in Physics, my Physics teacher (he came from the States, i think he was Californian) told me one of his students got into Berkeley. Then Berkeley asked him if he was planning to stay in the U.S., so the student thought "hey that isn't a bad idea", he was dead wrong. He immediately got refused because my Physics teacher told me that they [U.S.] do not want foreigners to get into their country that easily.

    Now that story is for undergraduate and I do not know if it is factual. For Graduate school, I don't think they will care where are you from and especially the prestige of your undergrad. Maybe it was because a lack of letters of recommendation? I am not sure. I am still an undergrad (partly...). I am a Canadian myself and I like to know.
     
  4. Jun 4, 2010 #3

    nicksauce

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    Well I know a few Canadians (from McGill) with less or equal qualification than the one mentioned in the OP who got into Harvard, so it's not impossible.
     
  5. Jun 5, 2010 #4
    McGill is like the MIT of Canada...
     
  6. Jun 5, 2010 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    You have no idea what the letters of recommendation said. 4.3 on a 5 point scale is 3.3 on a 4 point scale, which is not strong - irrespective of how well his peers did. I think it's premature to jump to any conclusions about an anti-Canadian conspiracy.
     
  7. Jun 5, 2010 #6
    True, he didn't mention the letters of recommendation, but he made it sound like he had good relationships with his PIs. Also, I meant 4.3 on a 4.3 scale (straight As), not 5 point.
     
  8. Jun 5, 2010 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    I have never heard of a 4.3 scale. But letters are critical in the process.
     
  9. Jun 5, 2010 #8
    Yea, I guess it's just the letters. And there are a few Canadian universities on the 4.3 scale (with A+), mainly in BC I think -- maybe it's a Canadian only thing, no idea :)
     
  10. Jun 5, 2010 #9

    nicksauce

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    It's not exactly hard to get into though.
     
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